If Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks has anything to do with it, special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation may be coming to an abrupt end.
According to Fox News, Franks said Monday that Mueller must resign from his position as special counsel due to his close friendship with former FBI Director James Comey, whose firing this spring by President Donald Trump was the chief impetus for Mueller’s appointment by the Department of Justice.
“Bob Mueller is in clear violation of federal code and must resign to maintain the integrity of the investigation into alleged Russian ties,” Franks said in a statement, according to The Daily Caller.
“Those who worked under them have attested he and Jim Comey possess a close friendship, and they have delivered on-the-record statements effusing praise of one another.”
Mueller’s relationship with Comey wasn’t the only reason Franks had issues with the special counsel’s investigation, either. Franks, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said Mueller’s decision to pack the investigative team with individuals who had donated to the Democrats and/or Hillary Clinton indicated Mueller wasn’t conducting a neutral probe.
“Already, this investigation has become suspect — reports have revealed at least four members of Mueller’s team on the Russia probe donated to support Hillary Clinton for president, as President Trump pointed out. These obviously deliberate partisan hirings do not help convey impartiality,” Franks said.
“Until Mueller resigns, he will be in clear violation of the law, a reality that fundamentally undermines his role as special counsel and attending ability to execute the law.”
The impartiality problem has become more prominent in criticism of Mueller as the special counsel’s net casts itself ever wider. While allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia on ways to damage Hillary Clinton’s chances at the White House have either proved to be unfounded or haven’t panned out, recent reports indicate Mueller is now scrutinizing matters wholly tangential to the 2016 election.
A report by The Washington Times described Mueller as “obsessed” with financial transactions involving Trump associates and Russian oligarchs, apparently in search of evidence of money laundering. While leaks to the media about the money laundering investigation have been plentiful, less plentiful have been leaks declaiming that evidence of said activity had been discovered.
I’m sure that’s just because they’re busy and stuff.
Whether or not Mueller’s relationship with Comey has affected his willingness to look for malfeasance where it may not exist is a matter of question, and the only individual in this vale of tears who likely knows that is Mr. Mueller himself — if he’s even that self-aware.
The point, however, is that questions about his impartiality can be raised. As The Daily Caller notes, conflict of interest under federal law is, in part, defined as “a personal relationship with any person substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution.” That certainly exists — and that’s why Rep. Franks is right.
Now, it’s foolish to think that the words of just one representative will cause the special counsel to step aside, especially when it’s a representative who’s loathed by the left. However, if Rep. Franks is just the first voice of many, that could at least elevate the issue into the national consciousness.
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